Have you ever visited a designer showroom or website, only to see the words “Trade Only” or “To The Trade” prominently displayed? What, exactly, does that mean?
When you visit an interior design center, such as International Market Square in Minneapolis, MN, or the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, you will notice that many of the showrooms are “Trade Only.” This means that the showroom does not operate like a retail store. Instead, they sell their furniture, fabrics and materials exclusively through interior designers. The designers receive a discount on the items, and then (typically) mark the price of the item up before selling it to their clients. This gives the designers a way to earn a profit on the items they sell to their clients. Additionally, the designer takes on the role of “retailer” and takes the responsibility for ordering, delivery, warranty service and more.
Some showrooms will allow “browsers” by posting a sign saying “Browsers Welcome.” This means that members of the general public can browse the showroom, but pricing will not be discussed and nothing will be sold directly to you. Other showrooms require a member of the general public to be accompanied by a designer before they can even enter the showroom.
If you plan to visit a design center near you, be sure to visit the center’s website ahead of time to see what the showrooms allow. Even at centers that do not allow open access to their showrooms, events open to the general public are held throughout the year.
If you need a designer to make product purchases for you, most design centers have a referral service to assist you in finding one that will be a good fit for you. You can also visit the ASID website (American Society of Interior Designers) to find a designer in your area.Pin It